The gospel for today’s (9-24-18, Monday of 25th Week in Ordinary Time) is a fairly short gospel but I would like to break it into three parts.
“Jesus said to the crowd: “No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lampstand so that those who enter may see the light.”
When one turns a lamp on, no one then covers it up. That would defeat the very purpose of turning the lamp on, to bring light to the situation. Jesus is the light of the world, a light to be shared. Unfortunately, the Light of Christ is hidden from many. Today there are people who tell us not to share the Light of Christ.
“For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light. Take care, then, how you hear.”
The good news is that the Light of Christ will not remain hidden. God will see to that (thanks be to God). Here I will say that because of what has been in the news recently, I see this line from the gospel in a different way and this is what prompted me to write this blog article this morning. My heart has been hurting over the news in the last two to three months regarding the clergy abuse scandal. The sin of clergy sexual abuse was hidden for a long time until the scandal broke in 2002. The cover-up was also hidden for years. One might try to hide sin but sooner or later it comes to light.
Things changed a lot (thanks be to God) when the scandal broke in 2002. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) put a new policy into place (often referred to as the “Charter) on how allegations were handled and requirements for training for the protection of children and vulnerable adults. Since then, most cases of clergy abuse that come forward date back to incidents before the Charter. Unfortunately, recent news shows elements of a “cover-up” continue. This hurts me. We need to stop the cover-up so that our church can be a credible witness of caring for children and to the Light of Christ.
“To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away.”
This verse might seem backwards to what we normally hear Jesus say. Elsewhere we hear Jesus speak of how it is difficult for the rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. We cannot love God and mammon. One of the prevailing themes in Luke’s Gospel is the “reversal of fortune” where God lifts up the lowly and sends the rich away empty. How does this verse today correspond to that?
When Jesus speaks of more being given, he is not speaking about material wealth. He is speaking about faith. God plants a seed of faith in each one of us. When we open ourselves to that faith, God will help it grow within us. In today’s world, the numbers who actively live out our Christian faith are dwindling. For people whose faith is weak, the scandal and the cover-up are leading some to question their faith more. It grieves me that people are leaving the church because of the scandal.
There is hope. There are those in the church who have fallen short of fulfilling their role as shepherds. As one can read in the Bible (see chapter 34 of the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel for an example.) this, unfortunately, is not the first time this has happened. Is there hope? Of course! We can count of God for the Lord is our shepherd (Psalm 23) and Jesus is the Good Shepherd (John 10). God will get through this. We just need to listen and follow his will. Embrace the faith you have been given and more will be given.